Hear Me Out: Thrifting

JAMES FAY/The Concordian @jamesfaydraws

Thrifting was once like a safari mission constantly searching for the best grail, now it has unfortunately morphed into trophy hunting.

Back in 2013 I was 15 years old, a young lad still in high school trying to find my identity. Now, I’m not going to dive into the trials and tribulations of a high schooler since we’ve all been there, but to take my mind off things I vividly remember going thrifting after school at places like Village des Valeurs and Renaissance, hoping to discover hidden gems waiting to be found.

Draped in between multiple random jerseys and sweaters from someone’s past, I knew that if I pursued the chase and looked deep enough through every aisle I’d be on the prowl, eventually gaining my stride, and scour every inch of the store in hopes to find clothing items that I not only desired, but that I knew in my heart would hold their value.

Walking out of these places my eyes would pierce down into my cheaply priced bag of goodies and as I looked at my freshly acquired loot, with a grin on my face I’d say to myself “what a successful hunt,” discovering a plethora of sports memorabilia, baseball caps, and t-shirts all for the love of the game. A broke high school kid just trying to find nice clothing at a reasonable price.

Now in 2022 I’m 24 years old, an older lad still in university trying to find my identity. That last part of the previous sentence I only mentioned for anaphoric purposes. Yes, I found my identity, and yes, I know who I am, though one hobby of mine I once greatly appreciated has vastly changed in the nine years since I first discovered it.

Thrifting was once formed out of a passion for many to go out on a weekend with friends, look through piles of clothing to stumble on, and find one or maybe two pieces of clothing you can call your own. It has now morphed into some sort of commercialized mainstream cash cow, where curators discover pieces on their own time, sell them or have them set up in a storefront somewhere, and price them for a ridiculous markup. 

Thrifting has unfortunately lost the prowl, seek, and scour mindset, and has now evolved into trophy hunting of sorts. All the desired items are sold under one roof at ridiculously high prices.

Maybe I’m just not in the same mindset as the new generation. Maybe they’d rather have everything under one roof because they don’t want to bother looking through multiple places. Personally, it saddens me when I’m walking in the Plateau and notice long lines at multiple curated thrift stores because I know that these kids now don’t understand what it is to actually go out and discover what you can find on your own. The smell of mothballs and old clothing has been lost in obscurity.

But eh! I get that we all got to get our bag one way or another. We live in a capitalist society so why not take a trend, burn it to the ground, make your cash, and then hop onto the next. I know at this point I’m bickering but damn what happened? All I know is that I won’t be enclosed in one place, I’ll be on the prowl looking for my next “successful hunt.”

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